Scientists recently discovered a major difference between humans and apes. It’s not the body hair, or the prehensile feet, or the propensity to fling poop with less-than-perfect accuracy. It’s actually the TH gene, one that directs the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Humans express the TH gene in the striatum, a part of the brain involved in movement, and in the neocortex, which conducts higher-order thinking. Chimps and other apes do not.
Why is this so important?
Habits, Mindfulness, Personal Improvement, Play, Self-Experimentation
For most of my life, Thanksgiving was spared the overt commercialization of the other holidays. Christmas has the gifts, Halloween the candy and costumes, Valentine’s the chocolates, roses, jewelry, and guilt—perfect avenues for commercial interests. But Thanksgiving genuinely felt different, as if it was only about getting together with friends and relatives over a crispy-skinned bird and offering gratitude for what we had and who was still with us.
These days, commercialization has crashed the party. You’ve got Black Friday. Then Small Business Saturday. Then Cyber Monday. (Giving Tuesday I can get behind.) The “Black Friday” deals on Amazon started going last week and should continue well past the holiday.
Mindfulness, Personal Improvement, Play, Primal Lifestyle
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to interesting places. The trips I’ve taken in the last 10-15 years, during my “Primal period,” have been the most meaningful, rewarding, and downright enjoyable because I’ve been able to view other cultures and customs through the prism of health, nutrition, and human evolution. I bring something back every trip—a tip, an insight, an alteration of an existing conviction. Travel abroad isn’t just a good time. It’s educational.
What have I learned eating abroad?
Diet & Nutrition, Play, Self-Experimentation
Today’s guest post is offered up by Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of the bestselling Move Your DNA and her recent book, Movement Matters, which examines our sedentary culture, our personal relationship to movement, and some of the global effects of outsourcing movement. I’m happy to welcome a good friend back to Mark’s Daily Apple to share on this topic. Just in time for Earth Day this weekend…
I recently held a couple of events in New York City. A question came up a few times: How can someone who lives and operates their daily life in a big city get the nature they both need and want when they’re unable or ready to change where they live? The answer can help many people in our culture achieve a deeper relationship with nature no matter where they live.
Nature, Play, Primal Lifestyle
I’ve always believed you could tell a lot about a person based on when they laugh. Or if they laugh at all. Laughter provides a brief but in-depth window into arguably the most enigmatic organ in the body—as well as the idiosyncrasies at work for that individual.
I’ve suggested before that we adults take life way too seriously. Compared to the average child, who belts out around 400 laughs a day, we summon a measly 15-18 per day. Somehow I think we’re missing out with all that seriousness—mentally and maybe even physically.
Play, Primal Lifestyle, Stress Management
The most basic advice I can give about hiking is to go find a natural space and walk around. That’s it. It’s not sexy or particularly exciting, but it’s good enough.
I do have some additional thoughts, though. If you want to get deeper, if you want to “upgrade” or “hack” your hiking, you’ll find today’s post useful. I’m going to offer some ideas on how to get the most out of your forays into wilderness.
I’m not going to discuss multi-day hikes/backpacking, which, truth be told, I’m not nearly as experienced with. This is strictly about day hikes—the kind everyone has time to do.
I’m also not going to discuss gear. It’s real easy (and fun) to geek out on all the awesome gadgets and gear you can buy for hiking, so I won’t spend much time there.
Let’s get to it:
Fitness, Low Level Aerobic Activity, Nature, Play, Primal Lifestyle